Sunday, January 10, 2016

Measure UUT: For / Against / and ... Impartial?

Mod: I've never been a big believer in the "impartial." There is always a bias somewhere, and in this case it could be the wrongheaded notion that a 66% utility tax increase can be spoken about, well, impartially. I don't see how. You are either for or against high taxes. There is no middle ground ... Of course, the City Attorney doesn't live here so maybe that takes her heart and soul out of it. On the other hand, doesn't her pay come out of these taxes? I think that is the case ... Anyway, what follows are the Measure UUT arguments that will show up in that little white election book the County of Los Angeles will be sending out in a couple of months. Think of this as an exclusive sneak preview.

We'll kick it off with the "For" argument, which was signed off on by all 5 City Council members.


Mod: Nothing like hostage taking to help push a huge tax increase. Pay us more money or we'll kill this puppy. Or, in this case, the Library. No CalPERS mentioned, of course.

The next Measure UUT argument advises you to vote against it. This is authored by residents Michael Amerio, Dave Mysza and Rick De La Mora.


Mod: Last, but hardly least, is the City Attorney's "Impartial Analysis." Cold, hard facts devoid of any possible bias? Or the downtown party line dressed up in scrubbed and sanitary language. I'll let you decide.


Mod: So there you go. We hope to have rebuttal statements before the week is out.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

28 comments:

  1. No additional taxes.

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    1. do something about our biggest long term liability which is the pension plans

      then switch to the Sheriff's Department

      put the library into the County or the Pasadena system

      then I'll listen to a need for new taxes

      I'm voting NO for the 3rd time and will every time it's brought to us

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    2. City Hall should make it clear what we are voting for. If we vote no for the taxes, does that mean outsourcing to the Sheriff's or have they decided to cut the library to the bone and get rid of the paramedics. Instead this mealy-mouthed phrasing implying that these things MIGHT happen. Make a decision about what will happen and let the voters decide if they want to spend the money so those things won't happen. Lead.

      The only realistic answer is to outsource to the Sheriff, but it's not clear that City Hall realizes that's the only option if the vote for the UUT fails. People need to decide if they want to pay for a private police force or not.

      These vague statements are allowing everyone to have stupid conversations about miraculously not paying into Calpers. It's the equivalent of opting to no longer pay into Medicare because it's too expensive. Voting down the UUT has nothing to do with changing the problems in paying Social Security/Medicare/Calpers.

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    3. CalPERS has become the single most expensive things the taxpayers have to pay in this city. Just because city hall does not wish to bring this elephant out into the open does not mean it is "stupid" to talk about this. The UUT is essentially a CalPERS Tax. It is important that this community discuss that, no matter how hard some are trying to suppress that conversation.

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  2. Is the fix in? Can the voters see through this latest tax hike scheme? Will Measure UUT be the third of its kind to go down in flames? Will the No UUT ballot measure be allowed on the ballot? Questions, we got 'em in 2016.

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  3. FACT it's just like the city council has said multiple times about overspending, let's set these issues aside and discuss them.next year, well Mr mayor,next yea hhas come and gone and the tax payers will vote and you will be forced to balance your check book and get rid of the pensions, Cadalic Health and death benifit and reduce those employees Inflated salaries. Obama is paid $400k per year, how do you justify paying a city manage $325k a year, things gotta to change, the city has no more change $

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  4. The fatal flaw here is the removal of the Sunset Clause. Locking yourself in to the highest utility tax rates in the state with no possibility for future review makes Measure UUT very tough to vote for. There have got to be more important priorities out there beyond budgeting convenience for City Hall employees.

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    1. 7:05. You are quite correct. Without a sunset, we taxpayers will be on the hook for 10% UUT tax every year and the city will have no incentive to rein in expenses. Of course, should this 66% tax increase pass, how long will it be before the city comes back with another ballot measure to increase it to 12%? I say vote NO on the UUT tax. We hope Earl's measure will make it to the ballot, but if it does not, still vote NO on the 66% tax increase!

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    2. Yes, the fact that there is no sunset clause is the Achilles heel of this current request to permanently raise everyone's taxes 66%. Just say NO to the city and this irresponsible ballot measure.

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  5. Here is my question. If the City Council cut $2,000,000 out of the budget as they claim, why does the UUT have to stay at the same 10% it was the last few years? I understand that the UUT has been at 8% since July, but previously it had been 10% for years. $2M less and still the same 10%? Really?

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    1. Answer: The city council offset the supposed "cuts" with new spending, primarily on salaries for the police department.

      Bottom Line: since fiscal year 2012/2013 general fund spending is up over $1.2M.

      If that isn't enough for you, the City has "budgeted"a further spending increase of $300K for next year. [

      Please note that none of this spending has actually improved our parks, our library, or our senior services. In fact, the increases have been targeted to salaries and health care costs for the police and others. Have a nice day.

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    2. It looks like the statement the City Council has put together is not exactly true. They didn't cut $2 million, they just spent it differently.

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    3. Sigh. And so the third attempt to raise utility taxes in three consecutive elections starts out the same way. With a city hall statement that is not exactly true. Are we surprised?

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    4. And the City will eliminate the Citizen Oversight Committee ! So we'll have no idea whose hands are sneaking into the cookie jar.
      If they intended to behave honestly, why eliminate a toothless Citizen Oversight Committee ? Answer -because they have a plan to be even more dishonest?

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    5. Many of the personnel cuts and dollars were for lifeguards and expenses associated with the pool. Waterworks took on those responsibilities. The city made no cuts.

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  6. One can stand around and talk about issues until the cows come home but taking the bull by the horns will surly result in positive result's from a city stuck in the doldrums' of economic and political change.

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  7. I was at the first meeting of the UUT committee many years ago. It was a group of very capable and well qualified citizens in the field of finance, commerce, etc. They were told in the staff report, read to all assembled by Bruce Inmann, the staff liaison, that they were NOT to look at any cost saving measures within the city budge and expenditures ONLY to look for ways to increase city revenues via a UUT. I don't have the date of that meeting, but someone reading this does. Ask the question: who was the City Manager at the time? Who were the CC members who approved this? There was no intention to get spending under control.

    My husband said, on my report of the above that same evening, the committee should have all gotten up and walked out!

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  8. As usual, the more you look the worse it gets.

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  9. The argument the city should put on the ballot is:

    Vote YES on measure UUT and give us more money and we will find ways to spend it. Vote NO on measure UUT and don't give us more money and we will have to figure out how to survive.

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  10. Having read the ballot statements I cannot vote for Measure UUT. The city never learns.

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  11. Has anyone ever heard of the increased cost of living? Has anyone ever heard of unfunded mandates imposed by Sacramento? Has anyone ever heard that the State ever allowed a city to suddenly drop CalPers at a moment's notice without a huge penalty? One that we can't afford to pay - or at all? Did the UUT oversight committee mandate that you voted for ask that the committee find a way to cut expenses? The mandate was to see if the UUT monies were spent on public safety. The mandate didn't even ask on ways to raise revenue. When I was on the committee, Elaine asked that we recommend that the UUT be raised. We refused because that was not our mandate. We reported that the money coming in was spent on public safety and only on public safety.

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    1. The vast majority of the new spending is for safety services. Everything else is flat. The solution to Sierra Madre's problems is not tax hikes, it is the Sheriffs. Let's see if people can deal with that.

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  12. In other words it was handed to the police department union. Just like the additional $1 million of uut taxes now sought will be handed to the police department union. Which is why our police department consumes a massive 47% of our general fund.

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  13. City hall has failed to manage our money, now it's our chance to take away the UUT tax and misappropriated spending.

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  14. this is the same city manager who charged and forced the Mt Wilson Trail Race to pay the city for over 700 staff hours for pre-event planning of the Race

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